Friday, October 12, 2018

Why Exorcist 2 Isn't So Bad Afterall!




Exorcist 2 gets a rap for being a less than stellar sequel as well as one of the worst movies of all time, which compared to the original, legendary Exorcist, I understand as to why. An over the top, crazy movie featuring multiple stories as to how the events in the previous movie still plague multiple people makes for an interesting story. Unfortunately too much packed into the movie made it for a rather unfortunate experience. Now I will say, I'm always intrigued by the idea of what happens to characters in horror movies AFTER a life altering experience, so for that plot point, I give it credit. For the rest of the movie, well, it's not so pretty.


However, throughout everything BAD in this movie, there is a bit of good to witness. And today, I'm gonna be your guide throughout this infamous flick to show you why you should consider giving it a second chance!


THE MUSIC:


Tubular Bells was an instant classic and to this day remains one of the most iconic in movie history. Of course, it wasn't used in this movie, so instead it was up to iconic composer Ennio Morricone to bring a memorable score to set the mood to. Bringing the experience of a musical genius and an eerie tone, the music captures you and draws you in to an experience you won't forget.


THE TEASER:



Oh man, talk about drawing you in. I'm a huge fan of 1970s trailers. It's mainly their unique ability to show you so little and intrigue you so quickly. And for a sequel to the Exorcist, there sure was a lot to be intrigued about. Nowadays, we take teasers, trailers and posters for granted that we forget that a teaser is just that: not a lot but just enough. This trailer really doesn't show a lot but gets your attention with it's eerie voice over, quick cuts of stills and simple tagline. A real hidden gem in terms of teasers.


JAMES EARL JONES:








I don't exactly know how James Earl Jones feels about this movie, but his performance as a scientist obsessed with controlling bugs, only to dress up as one, was easily my favorite. He also communicates with animals and puts them in their place. Which, I don't know if this was his audition for Mufasa in The Lion King or what but if it was, he earned it. James Earl Jones is one of the greatest actors we've ever seen and you can look at all his performances and tell that he doesn't half-ass anything whatsoever. He delivered prettywell and if you walk away from this movie remembering anything, it'll be him.


THE CITY:


Photo Credit: OnSetShotOnWhat
Going from DC to NYC to rehabilitate and help Reagan was a pretty smart idea, especially since this took place at a time when NY had so much character and became even a character itself.



WATCHU TALKIN' BOUT KIMBERLY DRUMMOND?



That's right, Arnold, future teen star and talented actress, Dana Plato makes one of first appearance in this very film. Playing an autistic child who befriends Reagan, the seeds of a very memorable (and sadly tragic) career were planted here.




MAX VON SYDOW:


 I mean, come on. It's Max Von Sydow. How else can I truly convince you to watch this without mentioning this acting legend? Reprising, to some, his most famous and iconic role as Father Merrin, a role that earned him a Golden Globe nomination is really just all you need to pick up this movie.

 Now, with all those reasons don't you think it's time to give this movie a second chance? Well, you can Scream Factory's newest release! Check out these extras:



Bonus Features

DISC ONE (118 Minute Cut Of The Film):
  • NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Director John Boorman
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Project Consultant Scott Bosco
  • NEW What Does She Remember?An Interview With Actress Linda Blair
  • NEW Interview With Editor Tom Priestley
DISC TWO (102 Minute Cut Of The Film):
  • NEW 2K Scan From Original Film Elements
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Mike White Of The Projection Booth Blog
  • Original Teaser Trailer
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Still Galleries Including Rare Color And B&W Stills, Behind-The-Scenes, Deleted Scene Photos, Posters, And Lobby Cards

So there you have it. New features including TWO versions of the film, new interviews, documentaries, commentary and scans of the film, you got all you need to truly determine whether or not this movie deserves to be considered one of the worst of all time. For a "bad movie", it sure does have a lot of great stuff going for it. You can thank our friends at Scream Factory for allowing us to give another movie we once tossed aside another fair shake. You can pick it up right here!



-Chad

Monday, October 8, 2018

Review: Saved By The Bell The Complete Series By Shout! Factory

 

 

Synopsis:

We're so excited! We're so excited!

Missing your favorite pals from Bayside High? It's alright, 'cause you're SAVED BY THE BELL! Conduct your own class reunion with this Max-ed out collection of the iconic 90s Saturday morning sitcom. The adventures of Zack and his friends – Kelly, Slater, Jessie, Lisa, and Screech – were a cultural touchstone for a generation of teens. Now, you can relive the laughter, lessons, and love (Zack + Kelly 4EVER) all over again. From JFK Junior High to Cal U, Miss Bliss to Mr. Belding, Malibu Sands to Hawaii, and dance contests to "dearly beloved!"
With 118 episodes from all three series – Good Morning, Miss Bliss, Saved By The Bell & Saved By The Bell: The College Years, plus both movies and a locker full of special features, this Zack Morris megaset is a must-have for fans!




Thoughts: 



After a few basic releases by previous companies by NBC, that had almost no effort outside a commentary or two to accentuate the series popularity or even truly entice fans. But Shout Factory has picked up the ball and ran all the way home with it.

First the elephant in the room. Let's talk about Miss Bliss. For those who may not remember, Good Morning Miss Bliss was the series that made all this happen. The original series that would be somewhat of the model as what the show would become starred Hayley Mills as the titular character and introduced the characters of Lisa, Screech, Zack and Mr. Belding. After being looked at as a bomb, it was cancelled and only a handful of characters carried over to the next series. This was always thought of as something that would never see a home media release. Indeed, for years many fans had relied on bootleg sets from conventions or other methods such as torrents or bootleg sites to complete their set. Now they have their chance to own it legally. A few notes of course. The original Miss Bliss intro used on the Disney Channel will not be included. This shouldn't be a shock as many fans had thought them to be lost or even extremely altered once the show got repackaged as "Saved By The Bell" in the early 90s during syndication. Another concern for some fans were as to whether or not the syndicated "Zack Introductions" were included. By that, I'm referring to intros done with Mark Paul Gosselaar running down the stories of the episodes at the beginning in a way to bridge the two shows so the audience wouldn't be confused. Some episodes in the collection do contain these, some do not. On top of that, some of the original brief cold opens are included, while some episodes just go straight into the SBTB intro. The original pilot, featuring a slew of future teen stars like Brian Austin Green, Jaleel White and Jonathon Brandis is not included either. But for those who are keen to the way TV sets are released, this can't be a shocking development as most collections don't include pilots for one reason or the other. While it would be a nice inclusion to the set, the SBTB purist in me isn't bothered. With none of the cast of the actual Miss Bliss series or even any connection to the later series, there's little to focus on here.


In my opinion, just getting these episodes at all is nothing short of a miracle. Miss Bliss was a good show, a little weird if you had been introduced to the Bayside Universe later on. For most, getting these on dvd was always the holy grail. And while not complete, it is good to finally own. It's a little on the corny side and can come off as dated but for some, this will be the main reason to buy this set.


Now on to the main series! The show that changed Saturday morning forever! The main series became a huge success after a rocky beginning (the show was not a huge favorite of critics at first) by introducing ridiculous situations with charismatic characters that all teens could somehow relate too and live vicariously through. The only characters to be brought on from Miss Bliss was, Belding, Zack, Lisa and Screech and some more favorites were introduced: AC Slater, Kelly and Jessie and the show flourished. To some, this was the best Saturday morning tradition and for some, still remains a favorite to watch with a giant bowl of cereal every weekend (yes, me.). All the favorite episodes are presented with great sound and picture and in some cases, with the most memorable episodes,  include commentary from cast, crew and fans.


The dvd set features episodes aired in a different order and thankfully, despite the differing air dates, Shout provided an explanation as to why:

"Like many television series, the order in which Saved By The Bell’s episodes were produced does not necessarily reflect the order in which they were aired. Consequently, some episodes aired noticeably out of sequence in terms of depicting the ages and shifting relationships between the characters. This is particularly pronounced in Season Three, when Saved By The Bell began airing two episodes a week — usually a school-based episode followed by an “adventure” episode which saw the gang journey beyond the halls of Bayside. In spite of these anomalies, we have attempted to present the episodes in airing order with the notable exception of the “Malibu Sands” story arc, which is presented in sequence here at the end of Season Three, in order to best serve the viewing experience for fans. Executive Producer Peter Engel was consulted on this matter, and he approved our decision to present the episodes in this manner."



Not much I can say about this. In fact, I'm very appreciative of the effort to present a very clean and seamless continuity. Really makes the set even more special and shows how much care and effort Shout put in to this release.



Now on to the College Years. Fans who already said goodbye to their favorite characters a few months before, were presented with a look at what our heroes in college. A few characters, namely Lisa and Jessie, were left out of this series. Instead, we were introduced to new characters: Danielle, Leslie and Alex, who balanced out the familiar male cast. Also introduced, former football star, Bob Golic who played Dorm Adviser Mike Rogers, who was a comic foil to the younger cast. Appearances by Mr. Belding, Kelly and Lisa were used to peak interest but sadly couldn't. The show wasn't as successful as "the high school years" despite what NBC would hope, as some people were ready to move on to other, more mature shows or were not willing to take a show that had originally aired on Saturday mornings and essentially a live action cartoon too seriously as a prime time show. The show does remain a favorite of a portion of SBTB fans who were eager to see how their favorite characters fare in a more loose environment with a little more budget and more serious storylines. But for most, other than seeing the relationship between Zack and Kelly go through hills and valleys, the show is normally forgotten. No extras are included in these episodes.


The made for tv movies, Hawaiian Style and Wedding In Vegas also included as a great bonus. The final chapter in the "Bayside Saga". Hawaiian Style aired during the original series (1992 to be exact) so fans were super eager to accept it as another chapter in the Bayside Mythology, whereas Wedding In Vegas aired in 1995, a year and a half after The College Years went off the air, most if not all fans had moved on and ready for a small break. A nice, cute little story showcasing the big day for Zack and Kelly as they tie the knot in Vegas while hijinx arise all around them. I was 11 at the time, when the Wedding movie so I remember being excited for it, but most of my friends had moved on and didn't care. But seeing where we started with Miss Bliss to this, it's a great cap to an unbelievably fun series.


Included in this terrific looking set is a "locker filled with extras":

  • NEW Documentary: "Past Times At Bayside High: Making Saved By The Bell”
  • NEW Documentary: “Bayside's Greatest Hits: The Music Of Saved By The Bell”
  • Saturday Morning: From Toons To Teens
  • It's Alright: Back To The Bell
  • The First Of Its Class: From Sit-Com To Icon
  • Audio Commentaries
  • Photo Galleries
  • 16-Page Episode Guide
 

The new documentaries, filmed for this special set, were the highlight in my opinion. Close to an hour long about the history of the show featuring cast and crew shed light on the process of telling the stories of our favorite characters and stories. Also included is a documentary on how the music was created and helped make the show so memorable. Archived features from previous releases were also included and even though the newer documentaries are more informative, the older extras are still fun to watch, so don't write them off!


If you've grown up a huge fan and never given up on this show even when others deemed it too silly and immature to watch, this is the set you've been waiting for. Shout! Factory really pulled out all the stops to create the one and only box set you need to own. So grab your skateboard, head out to whereever DVD's are sold to pick this up and then hit The Max for a Max-Burger! I simply cannot recommend this set enough. It's pure 80s/90s perfection!


-Chad



Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Review: The Universal Monsters 30 Film Collection


  Synopsis:


Thirty of the most iconic cinematic masterpieces starring the most famous monsters of horror movie history come together on Blu-ray™ for the first time ever in the Universal Classic Monsters: 30-Film Collection on August 28, 2018, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Featuring unforgettable make-up, ground-breaking special effects and outstanding performances, the Universal Classic Monsters: 30-Film Collection includes all of Universal Pictures’ legendary monsters from the studio that pioneered the horror genre with imaginative and technically groundbreaking tales of terror in unforgettable films from the 1930s to late-1950s.

From the era of silent movies through present day, Universal Pictures has been regarded as the home of the monsters. The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection showcases all of the original films featuring the most iconic monsters in motion picture history including Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera and Creature from the Black Lagoon. Starring some of the most legendary actors including Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains and Elsa Lanchester in the roles that they made famous, these films set the standard for a new horror genre and showcase why these landmark movies that defined the horror genre are regarded as some of the most unforgettable ever to be filmed.

Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes a 48-page collectible book filled with behind-the-scenes stories and rare production photographs and is accompanied by an array of bonus features including behind-the-scenes documentaries, the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula, Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce, 13 expert feature commentaries, archival footage, production photographs, theatrical trailers and more. The perfect gift for any scary movie fan, the collection offers an opportunity to experience some of the most memorable horror films of our time.

The Universal Classic Monsters: Complete 30-Film Collection includes Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Mummy (1932), The Invisible Man (1933), The Bride of Frankenstein (1935), Werewolf of London (1935), Dracula's Daughter (1936), Son of Frankenstein (1939), The Invisible Man Returns (1940), The Invisible Woman (1940), The Mummy's Hand (1940), The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), The Mummy's Ghost (1942), The Mummy's Tomb (1942), Invisible Agent (1942), Phantom of the Opera (1943), Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), The Mummy's Curse (1944), The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944), House of Dracula (1945), She-Wolf of London (1946), Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Abbott and Costello Meet the Invisible Man (1951), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, and includes a 3D version), Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955), Revenge of the Creature (1955 and includes a 3D version) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956).

BONUS FEATURES:
⦁    Behind-the-Scenes Documentaries
⦁    3D Versions of Creature From the Black Lagoon and Revenge of the Creature
⦁    1931 Spanish Version of Dracula
⦁    Featurettes on Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr., and Jack Pierce
⦁    13 Expert Feature Commentaries
⦁    Archival Footage
⦁    Production Photographs
⦁    Theatrical Trailers



Thoughts:

Very few movies stand the test of time as well as the Universal Monsters do. For close to 90 years, the likes of Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein, and their spooky pals have surpassed so many other characters to become, to many, the end all be all of horror icons. Thanks to seemingly endless merchandising, multiple depictions in various media(sometimes unlicensed) and remakes, these characters remain to be favorites of those who seek out horror. But of course, to some, nothing beats the original and with Universal's 30-film collection, you can relive the frightening fun over and over again.

For fans who may have missed the previous releases and multipacks, this is your chance to experience these classics how they were meant to be seen. With a cleaned up picture and sound to present the best film quality possible, this is the definitive set to own for Monster enthusiasts.

The transfers were a pretty clean and the sound was perfect and it was like watching the movies for the first time. Especially watching the infamous "Pond Scene" in Frankenstein. Now, I'm not a huge sound and picture guy but I am major into bonus features. With such great efforts on Universals behalf to preserve these movies also comes the features. Like a toy in your Happy Meal to reward you, these features provide you a special treat! Some footage you may have never seen before including which is also a big draw for me on any release. I've seen the trailers at filmfests before but everytime I do watch one I feel like I notice something different. Whether it's a scene, the music, or even a folly on set including a wire hanging a decoration or a zipper on the back of a costume, whatever it may be, I always pick up something new! And with the great transfer, it's an even better viewing experience! A lot of


With all these movies and bonus features, there's so much to dig into here including a fun little book chronicling the history of our favorite creatures, as well as rare lobby cards, posters and advertisements. A nice companion piece to all the information you'll soak in while watching the bonus features and listening to the commentary.


In my opinion, this is the must own bluray collection for not just Universal Monsters fans, but horror fans in general. This is essentially Horror 101 in one simple package. If you wish to learn how far horror movies have come, the inspiration for most if not all your favorite slasher/serial killers, look no further. You'll learn so much and maybe even discover a new movie you've only heard of before but never watched. It makes the perfect gift for that horror fan in your life or even someone who wishes to begin an interest in horror and movies in general. No matter who you pick this up for, they'll be very satisfied!

-Chad